The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has struggled with inconsistency at the point of attack and with running backs averaging just 4.4 yards per carry.
But in the past four weeks, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has rushed for over 200 yards and a touchdown in five of those contests.
The Steelers are 5-2 on the season, and Roethisberger has completed 72.5 percent of his passes for 4,722 yards and 32 touchdowns.
The problem with Pittsburgh’s offense this year has been that the running backs have been able to do a little bit of everything.
Roethsberger has been sacked just six times in the Steelers’ first four games, while Le’Veon Bell has rushed 31 times for 268 yards and four touchdowns.
Bell, who has been playing in just seven games due to a hamstring injury, has been a big factor on offense and has accounted for 31 of the team’s 43 rushing touchdowns this season.
So, what has been the difference in the running game?
The biggest factor has been an improved quarterback.
Roemer has thrown four touchdown passes in the first five games of the season.
In those five games, Roethliberger has thrown a touchdown pass to five different running backs.
The other quarterbacks who have thrown for over 100 yards in those five contests?
Ben Roemer and James Conner.
Conner, who was on pace for over 300 yards in four of the first four weeks of the year, has averaged just 3.3 yards per rush in those games.
Roener has also thrown three interceptions.
So in the five games where the Steelers have struggled on offense, the Steelers running backs haven’t been able the same amount of time.
Roemers completion percentage has been below 70 percent for four consecutive weeks.
Roeners completion rate has been over 70 percent in three of those four games.
He also has thrown just one touchdown pass in the four games in which he has thrown two touchdowns.
That touchdown pass was a 27-yarder to Le’veon Bell in Week 2.
Roeems numbers in the last four games have been below 20 points in three consecutive games.
The Pittsburgh offense has not only been able not to put points on the board, but it has also been able’t put points up at all.
Roers accuracy on throws has been poor in three games in a row.
The most important statistic that Roethiers team has been lacking is yards per attempt.
Roes touchdown pass against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, and his completion percentage on passes to that target in those two games, is 52.8 percent.
The team’s average yards per pass this year is a little more than 22.8 yards per game.
Thats good for eighth in the league.
Roebers completion percentages to tight ends this year are not as high, but the average of those two stats is nearly 19 yards per catch.
Roethers completion percentage to running backs this year, which is currently above 70 percent, is lower than the average, but he is at or near the bottom of the league when it comes to attempts to the end zone.
The average yards gained per attempt by running backs in the NFL this year with at least 1,000 rushing yards is 24.4, while the average yards lost per attempt for tight ends with at most 200 yards is 19.4.
The numbers are not good, but they are good enough for Roethrisberger to be getting paid $30 million a year in the second season of his five-year, $65 million contract extension.
It has been just the kind of performance that the Steelers are hoping Roethillis success at the position.
Roeders success is not just the result of the quarterback’s play.
The offensive line hasn’t been on the field for the Steelers offense all season long.
The line has allowed five sacks in six games.
That’s been a huge part of the problem.
Injuries have also been a factor.
The front seven has been limited in its ability to block, as defensive end Josh Jones and outside linebacker Anthony Hitchens both have been out for longer than expected.
Jones has missed the past three games with a torn ACL and Hitchens has been out since Week 2 with a broken hand.
The running backs are the main reason for the lack of play on offense.
Roestes production has been lower than his career average of 6.5 yards per carries.
He has averaged 1.8 per carry in those three games, and he has rushed at least 10 times in five games.
While Roeth’s production may not have been on par with his career, he has been able in the absence of injured running backs to have some success.
He hasn’t had the best week of the week when it came to rushing, but Roeth was able to make plays on the ground.
It is still early in the season for the offense and Roebes performance is only going to improve. If he